Up Close: Kevin Reddick, Part II

NEW BERN, N.C. --- Heading into the NCHSAA 4A state championship game last December against once-invincible Charlotte Independence, Kevin Reddick was surprisingly confident.

"I actually knew we were going to beat them," Reddick said. "…I didn't even buy a class ring. We had to order class rings a while ago. I didn't even order one because I knew we were going to get the state ring."

Reddick, a 6-foot-2, 210-pounder, put New Bern on his back. He recorded six tackles including two for a loss, and two pass breakups on defense, and scored two touchdowns (five-yard catch and one-yard run) on offense.

For his efforts, New Bern claimed its first football title in school history with a 28-17 win, and Reddick was named the Offensive Player-of-the-Game.

For those that have followed Reddick throughout his prep career, winning the Offensive Player-of-the-Game isn't so shocking.

"As a sophomore, he started 16 games at fullback," said head coach Bobby Curlings. "We knew he could play offense, but the need his junior year was on defense. And of course he more than exceeded our expectations on that side of the ball.

"Going into his senior season we told him just to be patient that he would get his chance on offense, but it would be on an as-need basis. The deeper we got into the playoffs the more we needed him and he came through for us."

To his credit, Reddick has always just wanted to be on the field helping his team win games.

"I was just wherever the coaches needed me," Reddick said. "On defense I was basically trying to make plays. On offense, wherever they needed me I was there."

After starting the 2007 season with a 2-2 record, including a 39-13 loss to Wilmington Hoggard, a state title didn't appear to be in the cards for New Bern.

"I felt like we played horribly against Hoggard," Reddick said. "And then when we played against Richmond County, I felt we played good, but not up to our potential. But I felt we played well enough to beat them."

New Bern went on to end the season with a seven-game win streak, including a 49-35 defeat of rival Greenville Rose.

"It was a good spring board," Curlings said. "Last year, they beat us and crushed our spirit – I guess you can say. Going into the playoffs [last year] it started us on a downward spiral. After beating Rose the way we did – we came from behind – it really got into the players' heads that when we quit making mistakes we're a pretty good football team."

The victory accomplished two of the three goals New Bern set before the season.

"That was my first time actually beating them since I got into high school," Reddick said. "We had three goals this year and that was to win conference, beat Rose, and win states."

Five games later, New Bern achieved their final goal by winning the NCHSAA 4A title. Curlings credits Reddick for much of New Bern's success.

"He's a leader," Curlings said. "All year long he led by example doing all the right things. Also verbally, he was the coach on the field really on both sides of the football… No matter where we put him he's got a good base of football knowledge and he's a player. I could have put him at tackle and he'd be the best tackle I have. He's a player."

The icing on top of a stellar season for Reddick was his selection to the Shrine Bowl.

Although North Carolina lost to South Carolina, Reddick led his team in tackles with seven. He also forced a fumble, and recorded a sack and 4.5 tackles for a loss.

Reddick would have been hard-pressed to cap off his prep career any better than he did.

"I want to play it again," Reddick said. "I wish I could do it all over again right now. But that's over and done with. So I'm just ready to move on to the next level and try to get this thing rolling and try to get a national title."

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